Boys & Girls Club seeking new home
by Staff Writer
With Ada Jenkins programs bursting at the seams and waiting lists growing by the year, the Salvation Army Davidson Boys & Girls Club needs a new space.
The 400-square-foot space the club uses in the Ada Jenkins Center, plus the center’s gymnasium, has served 12-18-year-olds of Davidson with exercise, homework space and programs like “Passport to Manhood” and “Smart Girls,” club Director Johnnie Peterson said.
But now a younger population needs that space.
LEARN Works provides after-school tutoring and enrichment programs to 60 students from Davidson and Cornelius elementary schools, mostly minorities and all impoverished, Ada Jenkins Development Director Natisha Rivera-Patrick said.
Participation in Ada Jenkins programs has grown 30 percent due to economic conditions, and LEARN Works has a waiting list 300-students long, Rivera-Patrick said.
Work will begin in June to get the space the Boys & Girls Club uses ready for LEARN Works when school starts in the fall, leaping to 120 students and including J.V. Washam Elementary School.
“This gives them an opportunity to expand,” and they have a greater need Peterson said.
Peterson is searching for a space, at least 400-square feet, within Davidson that the Boys & Girls Club can make its own. All of the teens in the program are current or former Davidson residents.
“The reality is that many of the children served by the (Boys & Girls Club) would not be able to find transportation to get to a Huntersville or Cornelius location,” Peterson said. “Staying in Davidson is paramount.”
Peterson is exploring spaces in Davidson and asking the community for help, first by recognizing the need.
“People feel like teenagers can pretty much fend for themselves,” Peterson said. “The teenagers are the next generation of leaders. We’ve got to provide them with the programs and opportunities to become productive members of society and be prepared to take the helm.”
He hopes to get a space donated, but would be able to pay $3,300 a year, the rent rate at Ada Jenkins, at least until the Salvation Army sets next year’s budget.
To donate items or suggest locations for the Boys & Girls Club, contact Johnnie Peterson at Johnnie.Peterson@USS.SalvationArmy.org.